One of the highlights of the recent Jersey Shore Music Fest was an appearance by Down To Fox, an eclectic yet intriguing new band quickly developing a following. “We’re trying to capture the power and emotion of rock and soul, while infusing the elements of catchy, melodically-driven music and tight, funkified groove,” explains Emily Parasiliti, vocalist with the fledging group. “Bluesy rock, in a nutshell.”
Emily is joined by Ben Brosh on guitar, Matt Runciman on bass, and Leo Goral on drums. While she had never been in any previous bands, Emily has been writing lyrics to jazz music and singing for two years under the wing of Grammy-winning producer Don Sickler. The conglomeration formed when Matt and Ben showed up on Emily’s doorstep to jam one night with two other players. “For months it was aimlessly jamming and good times,” says Emily. “We didn’t start taking it seriously until May when we decided to shake up the ranks a bit. Matt had joined a spontaneous jam in the basement of a college home one night at Rutgers inNew Brunswick, and it just so happened that Leo was playing drums. Skip two years forward and a phone call later, Leo came to jam and then hopped on board. Voilà! Down To Fox was formed.”
Even though they’ve only been together a short time, they’ve already graced stages from New Hampshire down to Philadelphia, including prestigious venues such as the Middle East Club in Boston, The Delancey and Trash Bar in New York City, Jolly’s in Philadelphia, and the My Day Festival at the University of New Hampshire.
The music is truly a collaborative effort, with all the members contributing to the final result. “It’s a collective creation,” Emily relates. “Generally Matt or Ben comes up with a riff. I start digging through my massively unorganized collection of lyrics and start singing a melody. Leo starts playing a drum beat and we begin forming a song. The arrangement usually is a back-and-forth between all of us. It’s really a group effort.”
The Down To Fox sound is really a combination of what each individual member brings to the table. “It’s a melting pot of influences, which can make for interesting car rides together,” laughs Emily. “My obsession lies in Joni Mitchell, Grace Potter, Susan Tedeschi, Wanda Jackson, Nina Simone… all the great female powerhouses. Ben loves everything from The Band to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, to Curtis Mayfield to Joao Gilberto. Matt can’t get enough of anything down the road of The Band; Americana at its finest. As of recent, he really digs the bands Houndmouth, The Main Squeeze and Lake Street Dive. But he secretly wishes he was Victor Wooten. Leo loves Phish, the end! Just kidding, he’s actually a well-seasoned music guy influenced by Art Blakey, Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, Tony Williams and Dennis Chambers. He just is obsessed with Phish, and we’ll never let him live it down.”
Their latest release, “Let Go,” has quickly become a fan favorite, and is a prime example of the direction the newer material is headed toward. “Also, we thought we’d cover ‘Billie Jean,’ and now there is no escaping it. It’s the number one request,” says Emily.
The unusual moniker stems from a mutual admiration of the ‘80s. “Well, our top choice was ‘More And Less Blankets,’ as Dewey Cox fans, but since we aren’t a Walk Hard cover band, Down To Fox came to be,” says Emily. “It seemed original and just stuck.”
Each member of the group has their own ideas of where they’d like the project to lead. But they can all agree on one particular aspect of their ongoing musical journey. “We all have our own individual goals musically, but to make a living on the road for years to come seems to be a unanimous ambition for all of us,” Emily states. “I think you can’t deny that any musician wants to see where their music can bring them and all the new experiences it can create.”
One thing they all agree on is the interesting reaction they seem to get from fans. “We’ve been developing a pattern at our shows from multiple dedicated ‘fans,’” laughs Emily. “They tend to be heavily intoxicated and like to stumble on stage with us to sing or dance. Uninvited, but thoroughly welcomed. Our particular favorite was a homeless guy who poked his head through a window at The Middle East club and started singing along and dancing the entire set. His moves set the vibe and he was killing it!”
You can find out more information about Down To Fox at downtofox.com, facebook.com/downtofox, and reverbnation.com/downtofox.